UN panel cuts Latin America 2015 growth forecast to 1%

GMT 20:06 2015 Tuesday ,07 April

Arab Today, arab today UN panel cuts Latin America 2015 growth forecast to 1%

Latin America's economies
Santiago - AFP

Latin America's economies will grow just one percent this year, hit by a weakening global outlook, a UN commission forecast Tuesday, slashing its previous projection of 2.2 percent.
The forecast comes after the region's economies grew an estimated 1.1 percent in 2014, their lowest level in five years, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
In December, when ECLAC released the regional growth figure for 2014, it predicted a better year of 2.2 percent growth in 2015.
But the global economic picture has weakened since then, taking a toll on the region, the UN panel said.
"This revision reflects a global environment characterized by less economic dynamism than what was expected at the end of 2014," it said in a statement.
"With the exception of the United States, industrialized countries have revised their growth estimates downward, and emerging economies continue to decelerate."
Latin America is also being weighed down by growing international financial volatility, the product of European and Japanese policymakers' efforts to kickstart their economies with measures such as the European Central Bank's 1.14-trillion-euro bond-buying program, ECLAC said.
Expectations that the United States will raise interest rates are also taking a toll, it said.
ECLAC predicted a stagnant year of zero growth for South America, 3.2 percent for Central America and Mexico, and 1.9 percent for the Caribbean.
The hardest hit countries are those that rely heavily on oil and mining, it found.
The ones faring best are those that have the closest links to the United States and benefit from the recent slide in oil prices: Cental America and the English-speaking Caribbean.
The commission predicted the economies that will lead the region this year are Panama with six percent growth, Antigua and Barbuda with 5.4 percent, and Bolivia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic with five percent.
The figures are the latest confirmation of the end of Latin America's so-called "golden decade" of commodities-fueled growth.
Growth of one percent this year would be the lowest level since 2009, when the region's economies contracted 1.3 percent at the height of the global economic crisis.

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